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The purpose of the ethics paper is to apply the framework described in Hill's Just Business to your workplace. The content of your paper should include the following:

Describe the prevailing value/ethical system in the companies you have worked

What holiness concerns can you identify in your organization? How have or have not these been resolved?

Describe a situation in your organization that raises justice concerns. How was or was not this situation resolved, and was the resolution just?

In what ways can you apply the concept of vocation to your job and career? Are their barriers that affect your ability to live out your vocation at work?

Describe a workplace situation in which you have observed conduct that was legal but less than ethical. How did you and/or others involved handle this situation? What were the long term consequences of this behavior?

In your role as an agent of your organization, have you experienced or witnessed moral dilemmas? Were these resolved in an ethical manner?

Identify a situation in your workplace in which you have witnessed deception. Was this a justified deception? How did it affect the trust, community, and dignity rights of others? Did it have other impacts?

In the workplace, have you ever felt uncomfortable concealing information?

What did you do to resolve the tension?

Have you ever witnessed an unfair disciplinary action or dismissal at work? How did you react?

What are your views on affirmative action?

How does the holiness-justice-love framework compare with the ethical framework that you used prior to being exposed to Hill's framework? In what ways has it changed your moral reasoning?

Writing the Ethics Paper

This paper is due at the beginning of Class Session Five of the course

Content, style, and grammar are all important to the grade. Well-written papers with excellent content and grammar will receive A grades. Deficiencies in either content or style grammar will reduce the grade. Students will use APA format.

No length is specified. The correct length is whatever length it takes to do an excellent job with the content of the paper.

Values and ethical system in current organization

HSBC bank is one of the organisations that I have worked with. The firm believes in behaving as per values while doing business (HSBC, 2018). Hence, the company is customer oriented and believes in delivering what it promises (HSBC, 2018). The firm believes in the value of trust and tries to enforce it in its conduct with customers as well as employees. Solidarity among all employees, customers and other stakeholders is the main ethical practice followed by the firm (HSBC, 2018). The firm conducts business in an ethical manner in a way to satisfy customer needs. Customer loyalty is very important in HSBC (HSBC, 2018). Therefore, all policies are made keeping in mind the customer’s needs.

At HSBC, there is transparency in employment policy of recruitment, selection and training and equal opportunities of growth are given to all employees (HSBC, 2018). Increments and bonuses are based on performance. Additionally, the firm makes timely payments to suppliers and provides relevant information to stakeholders (HSBC, 2018). Therefore, the firm tries to conduct its business ethically.

Holiness is a very important virtue propounded in the Cristian school of thought (Hill, 2017). Holiness comprises of virtues like humility, compassion, truthfulness, honesty, equality etc. Business organisations in today’s modern world have become profit oriented and hence the attributes of honesty, humility and compassion are being lost in the race for money (Ferell, Fraedrich, & Ferell, 2012).

Though my current organisation is an organisation which prides itself in its values and ethics. Certain ethical issues tend to arise in all organisations (Mason & Simmons, 2014) Therefore, there are holiness concerns in my current organisation as well. Sometimes the upper level management lacks proper judgement of an issue which leads to lack of compassion and humility. In most organisations this happens because rules are enforced without considering the impact on certain employs or other stakeholders (Hill, 2017). Additionally, sometimes rules need to be relaxed in certain cases which is not done.

To site an example from my personal experience, a female employee was continuously reporting late because she has a baby to look after. Such situations need compassionate treatment from the management (Hill, 2017). However, she got panelised for repeated late to the office continuously. As far as rules are concerned this action by the management was correct. However, considering her situation, compassion is required (Hill, 2017). Management should make a case wise analysis and consider the human aspects and actual cause of any breakage of rules to address such individual situations.

The organisation has taken a few steps to address such situations. Maternity leave, baby care leave, flexible timings etc are some of the actions which have been taken to address these concerns (HSBC, 2018). Therefore, at HSBC the management tries to address holiness concerns and treat its employees and other stakeholders with kindness and compassion. This is done in a way that it can remain ethical and profitable.

Justice in Christianity or religion accounts for being morally righteous, equitable, fair and just (Hill, 2017). It means not depriving anyone off their rights. Though HSBC is a value driven organisations sometime justice concerns come up because of management oversight regarding personal grievances of employees towards each other.

Holiness concerns and actions taken to remove them

One such issue which may crop up regarding business functions and justice is the issue of fairness (Cafferky, 2015). The organisation has a policy of linking performance with promotions and increments. Another policy of the organisation is to give maternity leave to female employee (HSBC, 2018).

The situation so happened that a female employee who had high performance rating and was due for promotion went on a maternity leave. When she returned after a few months she came to know that her promotion has been cancelled because she was on leave when the promotion meetings happened. As the lady’s performance level was high this led to a justice concern in the organisation. She put up the case to the upper level management and later the management decided to grant her promotion based on her past record. Also, a policy change was done which clarified that a promotion cannot be denied if a person is on leave. Therefore, justice concerns were addressed in a proper way by the organisation.

Vocation is pursuit of an occupation based on one’s abilities (Hill, 2017). The word has been taken from Cristian concept of serving humanity for salvation (Rae, 2018). In the Cristian theology work must be undertaken to serve humanity (Hill, 2017) Additionally, it should be done as a service (Hill, 2017). If a person peruses a work or a job based on his or her vocational abilities then he will be in a better position to do a good job in aa ethical fashion. This will lead to better service to God and humanity.

 My current position at my current organisation is of a transferability skills trainer for new employees. My abilities are being adequately applied as I enjoy teaching and training others. I have a knack and an innate ability for acquisition and sharing of knowledge. As a trainer I am able to use this ability in an ethical manner to improve the knowledge of others. I am glad for the opportunity I have to fulfil my vocational abilities but there are certain barriers to my ability. I have to transfer knowledge as per laid down rules and guidelines. However, there is a lot which one can teach to others in terms of principles and practices of various skills. Additionally, there are values as per Cristian ethics like love, justice and compassion which can be instilled in people. However, job requirements and policies act as barrier to doing so.

Ethics need to be imbibed within the value system of an organisation (Hill, 2017). However, in certain cases individual employees or the management takes action which may be legal but not so ethical (Ferell, Fraedrich, & Ferell, 2012). Such situations also arise in the banking and the financial sector.

In my current organisation, credit cards are a major product which are sold to the customers. These credit cards have an annual fee and an interest charge levied if the credit amount is not paid in time. In certain cases, customers sign credit card forms without reading these terms and the sales staff does not deem it necessary to explain it to the customer leading to disgruntled and unhappy customers and long-term negative publicity.

A situation raising justice concerns and actions taken

The situation and conduct of the sales staff members in this situation is perfectly legal as far as the company is concerned. This is because the customers have signed the forms of their own accord. However, as customers are mostly ignorant about financial small print, the silence by sales staff is unethical. The employees dealing with the matter should have told the customers about the terms. However, the organisation took action regarding the matter. When these incidents came to light on a large scale the upper level management made it compulsory for the sales staff to explain all the terms in detail to the customers. Long term effect of this policy was better relations with the customers.

Moral dilemma in the workplace is an ethical dilemma in which an employee has to make a choice between two actions which are at cross purpose between moral correctness and organisational goals (Hill, 2017). Moral dilemmas generally arise in business due to information gap (Ferell, Fraedrich, & Ferell, 2012). There is always the problem of what information is to be shared with the customer and what information is not to be shared.

In my capacity as an agent of my organisation I have also faced this dilemma. In the banking business our organisation was going to launch a new credit card with lesser annual charges in a couple of months. However, this information was not yet public. A customer wanted to purchase a new credit card and I faced the moral dilemma of whether I should inform the customer about the new launch or not. My revelation could result in the customer waiting a couple of months or the customer going without purchasing. However, I resolved the dilemma by informing the customer as per the policy of long-term customer relationship of the company. The customer decided to wait hence I was able to resolve the dilemma in an ethical manner.

Advertisement has become very important to modern business. However, sometimes business organisations use deception or misleading or withholding of information in their advertisements to push sales (Mason & Simmons, 2014).

To site an example from a cosmetics organisation I used to work for, the company advertised a day sale of certain products. However, the firm’s marketing department did not disclose that at the same place sale and off sale products were kept. This resulted in some customers buying off sale products which were expensive. They realised this later and were very dissatisfied.  However, as legally the firm did not do anything wrong they could not do anything. In my opinion, such deception is not justified. The firm should clearly state the fact. In this case the firm should have stated which items are on sale and which are not. This deception led to bad word of mouth publicity, trust breech and loss of goodwill to the firm in the long run.

In a business scenario in certain cases companies or the sales staff withholds information to push sales or to get an edge over the competitor (Hill, 2017). There are times when a sales person curtails information on important features of a product leading to wrong impression on the customer (Mason & Simmons, 2014). This may result in customer dissatisfaction.

Concept of vocation applied to job and career and barriers that affect the ability to live the vocation

 I have faced such a situation in my current organisation where I was told to sell an insurance policy which had a maturity term of 15 years. However, customer had the wrong notion that it was for 10 years. I faced the dilemma of whether to tell the customer or not. If I had told the customer, he might not have bought and if I had not told he would have been dissatisfied later. The situation made me very uncomfortable. Hence, I decided to resolve it by revealing the information to the customer.

The employment and recruitment policies of firms sometimes lead to unfair behaviour towards individual employees (Hill, 2017). In such a situation in my current employment, a female staff member had to go on a maternity leave. She had some complications due to which she could not join till a month after the maternity leave was over. She had informed the management regarding her problems. However, when she joined back she was sent termination orders. She was a high performing employee and it was an unfair dismissal and as the reasons for leave were genuine. However, other employees raised an objection and spoke to higher level management. As this employee’s pervious performance was good the dismissal was quashed and she was allowed to go on working.

Affirmative actions are certain actions taken through laws and regulations of a country to end a long-standing discrimination (Hill, 2017). In my opinion affirmative actions are needs to create equality among genders, races and ethnicities. However, it should not hamper the opportunities of other section of the society. For example, affirmative action is important to get gender balance in the work place. Additionally, it is required to end ethnic discrimination. Affirmative action is required to provide educational opportunities to the poor and the needy. However, it should not be done in an exploitative way. For example, to empower female gender the rights of male gender should not be reduced. Affirmative action should be taken to improve equality and to empower those who have been supressed since ages.

Holiness, justice and love framework takes inspiration from the Bible and considers holiness, justice and love as the most important attributes of mankind (Hill, 2017). Holiness means taking all work as part of God’s will and making God the ultimate concern. Working for humanity and not for material gains is the aim of holiness. Justice involves protecting the rights of humanity and working in a righteous and just manner. Love involves working towards the good of all and loving humanity (Hill, 2017). The earlier ethical framework I used was Blanchard-Peale framework under which before taking any action three things need to be answered. Is it legal, is it fair, does it make me feel good. If the answer is yes then the action is ethical

The earlier framework also helped me in working ethically. However, Hills’s framework gives a broader understanding of why certain actions should be undertaking. It gives a better perspective of humanity and work as a means to peruse God. This framework has helped me in becoming more morally correct and ethical. Hill’s framework helps in understanding that holiness, love and justice should be used in balance and neither attribute should be missing. Using one attribute without the other two can lead to lapses of judgement. Therefore, this framework has taught me balance in ethical practice.

References

Cafferky, M. E. (2015). Business Ethics in Biblical Perspective: A Comprehensive Introduction. Westmont, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Ferell, O., Fraedrich, J., & Ferell. (2012). Business Ethics: Ethical Decision Making & Cases. New York: Cengage Learning.

Hill, A. (2017). Just Business: Christian Ethics for the Marketplace. Westmont, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

HSBC. (2018, September 16). About Us. Retrieved August 8, 2017, from HSBC: www.hsbc.com/our-approach/our-values

Mason, C., & Simmons, J. (2014). Embedding Corporate Social Responsibility in Corporate Governance: A Stakeholder Systems Approach. Journal of Business Ethics, 119(77), 0615-1699.

Rae, S. (2018). Beyond Integrity: A Judeo-Christian Approach to Business Ethics. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan.

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